Saturday, 12 January 2019

Why Remain failed and keeps failing

Remain lost the referendum. Theirs was a pretty odious campaign of hectoring and catastrophising. They were penned in by the inherent bind created by the EU. Had they launched into a full blown europhile federalist love-in they'd have lost by a far larger margin. Instead they had to pretend the EU was something other than what it is and instead focus on the perks and benefits and the economic necessity of it. The problem there being that they were defending a status quo which not only isn't working, the incumbent establishment is, shall we say, not popular.

Ever since the referendum the full post mortem effort went into what happened on the leave side and it soothes them to believe the referendum was won through the skulduggery of Vote Leave rather than their own failings.

What's interesting, though, is that they have mounted a far more effective campaign since the referendum. They managed to build an impressive resistance army with branches across the country (albeit the wealthier areas) and showed themselves capable of mobilising huge numbers of people.

There is, of course, a vast amount of money behind this operation. They've chewed through millions in advertising and the "people's march" can't have been a cheap enterprise. That, though, I believe was the swansong of the mass remain movement. Since then their efforts have tailed off, more recently with the "Bollocks to Brexit" bus tour, which by the looks of it turned into a massive flop.

The faulty assumption there was that bus tours of nobodies are in any way effective. They weren't effective during the referendum and even less so after the fact. The only reason the media bothered to show up for the red bus was down to their bizarre infatuation with Boris Johnson.

One of their more intelligent moves this time around has been to rely less on celebrities and politicians, and instead putting their own activists front and centres. Or it would have been a smart idea were it not for one small factor. They're all jerks.

Be it "EU supergirl" or the odious "Femi" (iconic morons), remain activists have a habit of being sneery, smarmy and breathtakingly condescending. It does seem to be an affliction of the remain cause. Having teamed up with Remoner-in-chief, James O'Brien, they are all tainted by association.

They mistake they make is to argue points that leavers on the whole aren't making. They lecture us on how immigrants aren't taking our jobs and that the money we pay is only a small fraction of the budget, and they can barely conceal their contempt when they belittle the notion of sovereignty. To a large extent they are talking among themselves. The legacy remain campaign has become a mutual emotional support group. Not once has it attempted to listen or engage. Instead it lectures and scolds.

There is also something distinctly middle class about the remain movement. There is a strong Waitrose Warrior vibe emanating from it. Even now they're busy telling the world that the leave vote was a wave of xenophobia stoked up by demagogues and a "far right" press. No doubt there was some of that but most leavers I talk to knew well in advance how they were going to vote - and it's primarily because of what the EU is. ie not satisfactorily democratic or accountable.

Ultimately, though, the remain campaign is lacking a certain authenticity. The "people's march" smacked of astroturfing and it continues to be a Londoncentric liberal progressive enterprise just when liberal progressivism is about as welcome as a fart in a spacesuit. Behind the scenes of all this we have the deeply obnoxious Andrew Adonis and the batshit crazy AC Grayling heaping on the insults while Gary Lineker and JK Rowling, multimillionaires, belch out their loathing of the plebs on a daily basis.

There's one factor they all underestimated. Outside of the Twitterverse, most people are simply getting on with their lives, hopelessly bored of Brexit, simply wishing our politicians would stop pratting about and get it over and done with. Ordinary Brits are far more resilient than is assumed and they are doing whatever needs to be done. They know one thing that remainers don't. You can't just ignore a referendum. Especially not that one - when not only the EU's legitimacy is held in question, but also when British democracy itself is on trial.

For all the petulant wailers the BBC can wheel on to current affairs programmes, Brexit just isn't the end of the world. Rightly people are concerned, but it is generally understood that we have crossed the event horizon and the change people vote for, be they right or wrong, must be delivered. For all the millions of pounds and man hours the legacy remain camp have squandered, politicians know what is at stake - and the Brexit voting public have had their patience tested to the max.

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